The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina is the number one attraction in town for good reason. Not only was Graham probably the most famous resident of the state, his life story is masterfully told through engaging exhibits at the library’s museum.
You can take a tour of his childhood home (which was moved to the property in 2007) and see the family’s kitchen where Graham first told his Mother about his newfound faith in God as a teenager.
Inside the museum, you walk through a winding series of rooms, each telling a different part of Graham’s incredible life as a Christian preacher. A talking cow begins your tour, sharing some memories of Graham, or “Billy Frank” as a young kid who used to milk cows on the farm.
There are lots of well produced videos and plenty of interesting exhibits and artifacts. While the museum insists that the focus is not as much on Graham as a person, it’s hard to ignore his celebrity status and the influence he had. Pictures with everyone from Johnny Cash to President Truman and leaders from around the world show the magnitude of his reach.
He preached to hundreds of millions of people during his lifetime with his biggest single gathering in South Korea where more than 3 million people attended a sermon.
Some of the interesting, even amusing artifacts on display is Graham’s passport, vintage event tickets, and a check written by Richard Nixon who reimbursed him for a $5.00 offering. (Nixon apparently didn’t have any cash on him during a service.)
What struck me most wasn’t actually in the museum, but tucked away in the side of the gift shop – Graham’s office desk and chair. I didn’t note if the desk was from his early days or if he’d used the desk throughout his life – but it wasn’t fancy and in fact the chair was falling apart.
But, the visual proved that Graham was a guy that walked the walk, and was a down to earth person that lived modestly.
Graham and his wife Ruth are buried on-site in a serene garden with a walking path in the shape of a cross.
Admission to the Billy Graham Library is always free. While at the museum, you can also pick up a map of other Graham related sites around the Charlotte area.
Thanks to my new friend, R.J. who gave me a great personal tour while I was visiting! Everyone that worked at the library was incredibly kind – as you might expect.
To learn more about visiting the Billy Graham Library, check out their official website.